She stretched out in the tall grass and watched the cottonwood seeds drift by overhead. Marcus had called it summer snow. She liked that. He'd always had a cool way of describing things. Sweat pooled along her back making her T-shirt stick and her hot skin itch. No doubt she'd be sunburned by the time she got home. A sudden moving itch on her bare leg made her jolt upright and brush a big black ant away. Why did the outside have to be ruined by so many bugs? She and Marcus would've stayed up and caught frogs at night if it weren't for the clouds of mosquitoes. And how many times had they been driven from the shores of Tawny Lake by the biting flies?
She stared out across the field. The wildflowers were wilting in the heat and the grass was tinged brown with drought. Papa said that if it didn't rain soon, he'd have to pay Jonas to irrigate the fields again. Summers that Papa had to pay Jonas meant that she'd have to wear last year's clothes to school in the fall and that she wouldn't have any milk money. She glanced up at the robin's egg sky and frowned at the lack of clouds. If Marcus were still around, he'd probably suggest they do a rain dance or make an offering of spit or blood or piss to the rain gods. It was too hot to dance around, but she considered making an offering. After all, she still had the pocket knife she and Marcus had used to become "blood brothers." But no. She'd already gotten punished for cutting her hand the first time and she was too thirsty for the other offerings.
A bee buzzed passed and landed heavily on a blue flower next to her. She watched it scrounge for nectar and pollen while the stem drooped, then makes its way noisily to the next blossom. Papa once stepped on a bee hive in the back pasture and got forty-two stings before he reached the creek. Mama said he could've died. She wondered how this fuzzy creature bumbling among the flowers could possibly have chased her father from the pasture to the creek. It looked too heavy to even fly from one flower to the next. "It's so slow, I bet I could catch it." She told no one. But what was the point of catching it if no one was there to see it?
She wished Marcus was there to watch her. He'd once caught a fish with his bare hands in the pond. He'd stood very still in the water for a long time with his hands under the water and then scooped up a minnow when it swam over his hands. She'd dared him to eat it, but he'd let it go instead. If she'd caught one, she would've eaten it. There's no sense in catching fish if you aren't going to eat them.
Sweat dripped into her eye and made it sting. Maybe Papa could just hold her over the crops and she could sweat on them. She rose and wiped her damp hands on her shorts. Sitting in the grass wasn't as fun as it used to be with Marcus. Glancing around her, she headed toward the lake instead of home. She wasn't supposed to go there by herself, but now that Marcus was gone she didn't know who would go with her. Mama was busy with washing and cooking and Papa was busy with the crops. Or had he gone into town today with Mr. Butler? She couldn't remember. One hot, cloudless day bled into the other and stretched out as far as she could think.
I Write, I Edit, I Write Again. Witness!
We're Making Better Words, All of Them, Better Words.
I Write to Burn Off the Crazy.
A Good Day Writing is a Day Writing.
It Puts the Words on the Page or it Gets the Hose Again.
Just keep writing...just keep writing...writing, writing, writing!
Writing is Magic.
The First Rule of Write Club is You Talk About Write Club.
If You Aren't Writing, You Aren't a Writer.